What's That Noise?! [Ian Kallen's Weblog]

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20090312 Thursday March 12, 2009

Going to Metallica's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Those 25 things you should know about me memes circulating rarely interest me (honestly, I don't care that you have a collection of rare El Salvadoran currency). However, one thing that my friends know but regular readers may not is that I have a fairly eclectic background. Did you know that I used to hang around the art department's hot glass studio in college to blow glass? Did you know that I learned to program in Pascal when I was in college and hated it? Yea, yea, I don't care much anymore either. But anyway, back in the 80's I was friends with this Danish dude from LA who shared my interest in the underground heavy metal scene that was burgeoning, particularly in Britain ("New Wave of British Heavy Metal" AKA NWOBHM) and Europe. We used to trade records and demos (the first Def Leppard 3 song EP on 9" vinyl, I was tired of it so I traded him for a bunch of Tygers of Pan Tang and other crap I didn't own already). I think he, like myself, used to pick up copies of Melody Maker and Sounds at the local record store to read about what was going on overseas. Eventually, Kerrang! came out providing fuller coverage of the metal scene, complete with glossy pictures. But in the meantime back in San Francisco, I helped a friend of mine (Ron Quintana) operate his fanzine Metal Mania (don't be confused, the name was re-appropriated by various larger publishing concerns at different times in the years since but none of them had any relationship to the original gangstas).

Back in the day, Howie Klein was a muckety muck in the music industry, haunting the local clubs like The Old Waldorf and Mabuhay Gardens. Howie hooked us up with a show on KUSF. I dubbed the show Rampage Radio, it ran in the wee hours every Saturday night (right after Big Rick Stuart finished up his late night reggae show with those dudes from Green Apple Records on Clement Street). In between hurling insults at "album oriented rock" and big-hair metal bands (posers!), we played a lot of stuff you couldn't hear anywhere else. Among the many obscure noises we aired were demos from East Bay metalheads Exodus. Amazingly, Rampage Radio is still on the air. Well, that Danish kid and one of the guys I befriended from Exodus were Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett, respectively. In short order, they would be playing together in a band Lars named Metallica (after haggling with Ron about not taking that name for the 'zine).

I eventually lost interest in the metal scene (not enough innovation, too much sound-alike derivatives to keep me listening); even though the music from then is still on my playlist, my repertoire has broadened widely (talk to me about gypsy style string jazz, please). I've been peripherally in touch with friends from back then. Over the years, I'd go to a few Metallica shows but the guys are always mobbed at the backstage parties, there's not much of an opportunity to actually talk about anything. Anyway, we have little in common now. I develop software and crazy assed online services; they tour the world to perform in front of throngs. And I don't drink Jaegermeister anymore. In 2000, I introduced one of the friends I've stayed in touch with, Brian Lew, who also had a fanzine Back In The Day, to editors at salon.com (where I was working at the time). He contributed a great article expressing a sentiment that I shared, dismay at Metallica's war on Napster. I don't think I've actually talked to Lars in 15 years. After seeing news coverage of him ranting about how people (his most valued asset: his fans) where ripping him off, I'm not sure I wanted to. But I think we're all over that now, let's just play Rock Band and fuhgedaboutit.

So here we are decades later and Metallica hasn't just warped the music industry, they are the industry. They're up there with Elvis and the Beatles and all of that (except, barring Cliff Burton, they're not dead). Last week, Brian pings me that Q-Prime (Metallica's management company in New York) is trying to reach me. After a few phone calls, it turns out that Metallica is honoring a handful of us old-schoolers by inviting us to a big shindig in Cleveland for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction next month. How cool is that?! I'm still kind blown away that this is really happening (am I being punkd??).

So, I may be leaving Technorati but I'm going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! w00t! That tune keeps humming through my conscience, "...living in sin with a safety pin, Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!" but the way it sounds in my head, it's ganked up, roaring from a massive PA and a wall of Marshall stacks. So now you know what my plans will be in a few weeks and now you've learned a dozen or so things about me (if not 25) that you may not have known before.


( Mar 12 2009, 12:22:51 PM PDT ) Permalink


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